Brad Keselowski makes pitch to NASCAR: “Worst racing to watch”

There was a time NASCAR fans and drivers wanted more short tracks and road courses; The times have changed

NASCAR evolution continues…

Fans complained for 20 years about the disregard for short tracks. After beating the dead drum, they eventually left and found other forms of short track racing.

By 2019 and 2020, NASCAR was actually listening to fans for the first time in years. That change was the result of a massive leadership shift which followed a drunken episode (or several).

Prior to the Next Gen car, NASCAR was finally expressing interest in adding more short tracks and road courses to their schedule, typically at the expense of 1.5-mile tracks.

NASCAR admits mistakes; Looks to return to roots in 2021

Their new focus on short tracks became clear as Phoenix Raceway was made the championship finale venue for 2020. It removed the championship race from Homestead-Miami Speedway, who hosted the finale since the inception of the playoffs to that point.

Then to double-down, the Clash at the Coliseum was born and NASCAR entered a 1/4-mile bullring for the 2022 pre-season race. WWT Raceway at Gateway was added to the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for the first time in the lengthy history of the track. Plans were also made for NASCAR to return to North Wilkesboro Speedway (They hosted the All-Star race in 2023).

Furthermore, Auto Club Speedway announced plans dig up their intermediate oval and replace it with a 1/2-mile short track. And, NASCAR was well underway in planning an event in the Streets of Chicago (Which took place this season).

And now that all of those things are in play, we’re all good, right? Wrong.

Next Gen car takes away from short tracks and road courses

When the new Next Gen (Gen 7) car launched in 2022, it was an instant flop on short tracks.

Drivers were vocal on the new issues. They noted that single-lane race tracks caused the problem. Yet, multi-lane tracks (like many 1.5-mile tracks) actually work with the Next Gen car. The new car struggles when behind another car in dirty air, multi-lane tracks remove many of those problems from sight.

NASCAR is aware of the problem and they’re working on it. The sanction has tested various aerodynamic packages all year, with plans to make adjustments in 2024.

Back in August, the front splitter was drastically altered during a test with hopes of creating more issues for a lead car and less issues for a car trailing another. It was an interesting idea and we might see it in 2024.

NASCAR is fighting the aerodynamic advantages with new aerodynamic disadvantages

Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin - Kansas Speedway - NASCAR Cup Series.jpg (1)
Credit: KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – SEPTEMBER 10: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #6 Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Yahoo! Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on September 10, 2023 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski comments on 1.5-mile tracks

Last week, NASCAR raced at Kansas Speedway. The race was one of the better races of the season and the fans have pointed that out as Jeff Gluck’s post-race poll saw Kansas as the highest rated race in 2023 with a 93% approval rating. It’s 9th overall since the poll began in 2016.

Brad Keselowski opened via X, “We went from 1.5 mile tracks being the worst and road courses being the best races to watch with Gen6 car:”

“To now, 1.5 mile tracks being the best and road courses being the worst racing to watch with NextGen cup car.”

He concluded, “Interesting to watch this play out. We need more 1.5.”

The 1.5-mile tracks that once had dark clouds looming overhead are now a fan and driver favorite. We’ve stepped into a new nightmare.

Kansas Results: September 10, 2023 (NASCAR Cup Series)


Brad Keselwoski | Kansas Speedway | NASCAR